Your View: Guest Column - Electric cars aren’t ready for prime time

Jun. 23, 2013 @ 07:58 PM

BY REGIS KLINE

Last year, Consumers Reports purchased a top of the line Fisker electric car at a dealer for a car evaluation. The purchase price was $108,000. After driving only 200 miles, the car broke down and had to be hauled away.
CR said that this was the first time in their history that a car being evaluated broke down so many times. This is a company that received a $200 million loan to build electric cars in Finland. As part of the loan requirement, Fisker was to build a $55,000 electric car in Delaware which was never done. Fisker produced a grand total of 3,500 electric cars in Finland. At the time of the loan Fisker had a junk credit rating and still got the loan.
Recently, a NY Times reporter test drove a $100,000 Tesla Model S electric car for a road trip from Washington, D.C., up Interstate 95 to Connecticut. The trip started off fine, but the weather got cold and the battery showed reduced range. The car could barely make the 200-mile distance between charging stations driving in the right lane on I-95 at 54 mph. The reporter even had to turn down the car heater to make it.
The vehicle charging took one hour each time, and the car finally shut down along the side of the freeway and had to be towed. When the tow truck arrived, the battery did not have enough juice to release the parking brake. The reporter said he sure missed driving his Honda Civic. This company also received a $530 million dollar loan and new management will try to turn Tesla around. Tesla is now producing an improved $70,890 electric car.
The Chevy Volt was promoted with a lot of hype and has been a big flop. The purchase price of $15,000 more than a comparable gas-powered car and many problems has doomed this car. Battery fires have also been as issue. The battery for this car costs only $18,000. It was reported that the Federal Government has subsidized GM about $250,000 for every Chevy Volt manufactured.
The Washington Post reports that Americans bought just 71,000 plug-in-hybrids or all-electric vehicles in the past two years. Ford’s new electric car costs $40,000 and has a range of 80 miles.
Electric cars will never be the answer for a vehicle that middle class Americans will desire, drive or can afford. Billions of your tax dollars have been wasted by the Obama administration.  All car companies are being forced by the Obama administration and California to develop an electric car, whether it sells or not.
The future for more fuel efficient cars will be hybrids, diesels, propane or hydrogen powered cars, not electric cars. Americans have to remember that electricity for electric car charging has to be produced somewhere. Last year, my wife did our part protecting the environment by purchasing an American made hybrid car and cut our gasoline bill in half.
The Obama administration reminds me of a group of bureaucrats playing the game Monopoly with American taxpayer’s money and handing it out to groups and green companies that have no chance to make it or turn a profit, leaving the taxpayers taking the loss. Recently, it was reported that $26 billion was given to green companies that created a total of 2,298 permanent jobs. That works out to $11 million per job. This is job creation at its worst.

Regis Kline lives in Trinity.